Sunday, 11 September 2016

To uke or not to uke, that is the question...

A cottage is slowly emerging.  I agree that it has taken rather a long time, but that's because I have been a bit distracted,  and I shall reveal the new toy at the end.   The other reason is that it takes ages to paint this type of render,  it takes a few coats to get inbetween all the little stones.  Then you need to go back over the woodwork. So there is a bit of faffing, as I call it, a technical term you understand.  And as usual I've had appointments to go to, will this health stuff never end?   

Also the roof caused no end of problems.  I tried a few different methods,  before choosing the corrugated card strips.   I snipped inbetween each while they were still wet with the glue, so they settled down nicely.  Now I need to sort out how to do the finishing bits.    And not happy with the colour, so that needs work.   But at least some progress is being made. 

This is also a distraction.  If you have one then you will fully understand why it is impossible to sit and craft without interruption.   These are guaranteed to come and bother you the moment you sit down at your craft desk.   He's  been driving me potty all week.  He has decided he wants to eat the fishy Felix for the time being, but with the odd meaty sachet just to add some contrast.  Oh along with wanting pieces of my melton mowbray pie,  the bratwurst, and the cheese,  and the fresh chicken.  He thinks he is starved! 

So to my new toy...  a ukulele!   And why not?   Why you are asking, has she decided to buy a uke?    Well last Saturday I was watching the Travel Show on the BBC news programme.  They challenged one of the presenters to find a cheap night out in London, so she discovered a pub that has a ukulele night.  Her next challenge was to learn how to play a uke and join in.  She had two weeks,  and she did it.  Then I got it into my noggin that it would be nice to learn how to play a uke.  Not knowing how much they cost I had a look on the internet. I found one for just £16, with good reviews, all said it was fine for a beginner.  But I was still unsure, and I've not got money to fritter on whims.  Then I remembered my 'slummy' tin,  it is were I chuck my loose change, well some of it.  I'd been saving for a while, in fact I'd been meaning to take to the coinstar machine. Anyways, I counted it, and I had twenty quid,  so off to Argos I did go and got myself a uke.  I also purchased an electronic tuner, which has proved a Godsend, well how was I going to now how a C string should sound?   Actually there is an app, yep, an ukulele app tuner, but it wasn't as accurate as the dedicated tuner, which cost me the enormous sum of: a fiver.   So all week I've been practising.  On the first day it was all I could do to play one chord,  let alone change chords!   But now I can actually play four chords, and change between three of them, one is a bit more tricky, but I'm getting there.  So now I'm getting used to strumming patterns, and changing between two chords.   I wish to state that I am a TOTAL beginner,  never played a stringed instrument in my life.  But I am really enjoying myself, and I am making progress.  Harvey does give me strange looks, but at least he hasn't felt the urge to join in - yet.   If I do keep it up and, more importantly, actually learn to play it properly, then I'll get a better quality model.  But for the time being this little uke will do fine.   Tell me, what did we all do before YouTube?    I've found some really good tutorials on it, plus some free PDF files of chords.  Yes proper lessons would be nice, but they cost money.  

On Monday I had my first intensive counselling session.   No I didn't come away wrecked,  but it was a full on assessment that took nearly two hours, so I was a bit drained.  Monday was also the day when I went to buy my uke, a treat is a good thing after counselling, or so I've been told.  Not sure if it involves buying a musical instrument.   But I do love music, always have,  I watched the Last Night of the Proms last night,  and I've watched a few others from the Proms this year.   Last night was a bit emotional,  mum and I would always watch it together, she loved classical music.   My favourite symphony is The Planets, by Dvorak,  and yes, you will have heard bits of it on adverts.  Actually I must dig it out and have a listen. 

As for this week, well tomorrow I have to deal with some admin stuff first thing,  my housing association says I owe them rent, and I don't,  good thing I keep a record of all transactions!  Actually this rent thing isn't anything to do with me, just the slow pace of officialdom.  Even so, it is still worrying, and not good for my anxiety.  And also another counselling session, something enjoyable to look forward to at the end of the week is my art class. 

No idea when I'll be blogging again, depends on my back,  and the distractions...   Have a good week.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Pantile heaven

Well after much gnashing of teeth, chewing of nails...  I solved my pantile problem!  The book said you could also use corrugated cardboard, but where to get some?  Yep I could have bought some online, but none of it was really the right size...  So after one fruitless trip to Hobbycraft, I had a look at their website and it said they did have corrugated card.  Back I went,  this time I stuck to the children's section,  lovely stuff,  and finally, finally... I found what I wanted!  And not only that but it was cut into strips at the perfect size, oh joy of joys.   Nearly skipped out of there, well I would have had my back not been so sore.  I drove home, no did not go like the clappers, was sensible...

This is one of my first attempts.  For this I used the air dried paper clay,  just too messy and way too fiddly, which is why I didn't continue with this method.  The tin foil didn't work very well either

And this is the corrugated card.  So much better, and it will look the part once it is painted.

I put down one whole strip, meaning with the backing in place, then I took the backing off for the next few strips.  The pantiles are meant to nestle together.   I got this small roof finished,  then the tummy began rumbling and I realised it was time for some food. 

I've started work on the larger roof, so should have the lot done by tomorrow.   Can't tell you what a relief it is, I nearly gave up. 

These corrugated card strips are part of a kit,  they are for children. the pack doesn't say what age they'd be suitable for.   You glue the strips together and make an animal,  you get a few other bits to make the animal, eyes etc.  And the best bit, it only costs £3.   But I think they'd be great for any crafter, especially if you do mixed media. 

Today has not been a good day.  I've overdone it this week,  and yesterday my back decided to tell me that I needed to have a rest!   I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night,  and when I woke up this morning I could barely move.   I had a hospital appointment, needed an ultra sound,  and that meant I couldn't eat for six hours before it.  Now that put me in a dilemma,  I need to take ibuprofen when my back is this bad, and I have to eat something in order to take the stuff.   I also knew that I could not go six hours without taking ibuprofen.   Since my appointment wasn't till late in the afternoon I gave it an hour to see if my back would calm down.  It didn't, so I had to cancel,  they weren't very happy,  I did explain and then they were sympathetic.   There was another problem with the appointment, it was a 40 minute drive,  a bit too far with a very sore back.    When I say 'sore' what I mean is a sharp pain going down both legs,  back in spasm, so any movement is very painful, plus this horrid tingly feeling from the waist down.    

I'm fed up of hospitals,  never asked for the scan,  I even queried if I really needed it. The doc half agreed with me that the slightly high reading in one test could be down to the painkillers.   I'm not daft about the dosage, some folk are frankly stupid and are very lucky that they don't overdose on co-codamol.  No idea when I'll get another appointment,  the receptionist said it would be October.  I hope she can arrange it at a hospital a little closer to home.   Yes I know the doctors are having a series of strikes, but the ultra sound isn't performed by a doctor,  and I also hope that the government will see sense and start talking.  I was getting angry last night with Sky, who seemed intent on misreporting the facts of the reasons behind the strike,  a lot of it has to do with how this 'seven day' a week NHS will be funded, and the government are rather quiet on that.   I can tell you, from experience, that no-one in the NHS wants to strike,  I had to once when I was in the ambulance service.   It was the hardest thing I'd ever done,  and our strike was local and nothing to do with pay, but rather we wanted decent equipment, and to stop two of our colleagues being unfairly sacked.  We got pushed into a corner and so we had no choice but to strike,  but we all remained at work, and we were ready to attend any emergency if asked.  No doubt the government will try, in fact they already are, to demonise the junior doctors, don't let them, it is this government who are in the wrong.  The NHS is not safe in its hands, and it never will be. 

I'll get off my soap box.   Need to as Harvey is looking at me in the hope that I'll feed him!   Fat chance, he was fed an hour ago.  Instead I'm off to fill in my diary,   and hope that there is still a place on the mosaic taster course.  Have a good weekend.